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Soccer | DAILY REPORT

AC Milan Qualifies for Final

May 14, 2003|Grahame L. Jones | Times Staff Writer

Half of Milan celebrated deep into the night Tuesday while the other half mourned as AC Milan qualified for the European Champions League final at the expense of its Italian neighbor Inter Milan.

Nothing could separate the teams in the two-game semifinal series, with the second game ending, 1-1, Tuesday after the first had ended all square at 0-0.

But the goal scored by Ukraine striker Andriy Shevchenko for AC Milan one minute into injury time at the end of the first half proved decisive, counting as the "away" goal that made the difference.

The teams share the Giuseppe Meazza stadium in the city's San Siro neighborhood, and AC Milan was designated as the visiting team Tuesday.

Shevchenko received a pass from Dutch midfielder Clarence Seedorf, shrugged off Colombian defender Ivan Cordoba and then beat Italian goalkeeper Francesco Toldo with a hard shot just before the halftime whistle.

Inter Milan fought back in the closing moments and was rewarded by a goal from Nigeria's Obafemi Martins.

In the May 28 final at Manchester, England, AC Milan will play the winner of today's other semifinal between Juventus and defending champion Real Madrid.

U.S.-Portugal Off

It appears likely that the United States' planned June 5 match against Portugal at Foxboro, Mass., will not take place after all.

"It's not going to happen [next] month," Sunil Gulati, U.S. Soccer vice president, told the Boston Globe. "It looks like we can't put all the pieces together."

Blame the sponsors. Each federation is backed by a different beer manufacturer and neither wants to compromise on in-stadium advertising boards.

U.S. Adds Two

Coach April Heinrichs has added Boston Breaker midfielder Jena Kluegel and Philadelphia Charge defender Heather Mitts to the U.S. women's national team for Saturday's game against England at Birmingham, Ala.

They replace Lindsay Tarpley, who is recovering after having her wisdom teeth removed, and Devvyn Hawkins, who has a foot injury.

SARS Update

German champion Bayern Munich canceled a planned summer tour of China because of fears over the SARS virus, while Nigeria's government refused to allow its national team to take part in the Kirin Cup in Japan for the same reason.

In addition, Malaysia advanced automatically to the final round of Asian qualifying for the 2004 Athens Olympic Games after Turkmenistan forfeited its series against Malaysia when its government forbade the team from traveling to Kuala Lumpur because of SARS scares.

Greeks Riot

More than 200 Greek fans, angered by Panathinaikos' 3-0 loss to rival Olympiakos on Sunday, stormed the team's training ground in Athens, damaging cars and other property, clashing with riot police, and causing Uruguayan Coach Sergio Markarian to quit.

"I have already taken my decision, I'm leaving Panathinaikos and Greek football at the end of the season," said Markarian, who, along with several players, was struck by the hooligans but not injured.

Police fired tear gas, and 17 arrests were reported.

German Changes

Klaus Augenthaler was named coach of Bayer Leverkusen, replacing Thomas Horster, who was fired after saying his team had no chance of avoiding relegation from the German Bundesliga.

"After that performance [a 4-1 loss to Hamburg on Sunday], I have to say I have given up," Horster said. "We are lacking everything."

Also, former Belgium World Cup player Marc Wilmots said he would leave as coach of Schalke 04 at the end of the Bundesliga season and will return to Belgium to launch a political career.

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